The U.S. surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths on Monday, a threshold that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said should never have been crossed.
“However,” Fauci told the news outlet, “that does not explain how a rich and sophisticated country can have the most percentage of deaths and be the hardest-hit country in the world.
“That I believe should not have happened,” he said.
As of Tuesday morning, the U.S. had reported 500,443 COVID deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Trailing far behind the U.S. in total COVID deaths is Brazil with 247,143 deaths, Mexico with 180,536 deaths, and India with 120,998 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. All three countries have less than half to a third of the number of COVID deaths of the U.S.
Fauci, who also serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force under President Biden, told Reuters, “This is the worst thing that’s happened to this country with regard to the health of the nation in over 100 years.”
Fauci said the descent from health guidelines to state and local leaders went beyond the leadership of former President Trump, who often downplayed the severity of the coronavirus as well as Fauci’s message to American’s on virus guidelines.
Trump has questioned Fauci’s creditability in his position, and Fauci has said now as he sits under the Biden Administration, he is not stifled by Trump’s contradictions about the virus to the American public.
“The lack of involvement at the very top of the leadership in trying to do everything that was science-based was clearly detrimental to the effort,” Fauci said in the interview.
But Fauci maintained that it wasn’t just Trump, saying that the disregard by some governors and mayors for the coronavirus guidelines was “incomprehensible to me (when) you could see right in front of your eyes what was happening.”
Based on current data, the U.S. accounts for 4% of the global population but makes up nearly 20% of all COVID deaths, Reuters said.
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